Plain Knitting

Plain Knitting Manufacture

Plain knitting is the most basic of all knitting constructions. It is a weft knit, which is the most common type of knit and this means that the stitches run from left to right horizontally in the fabric. Plain knitting can be recognised by its flat uniform appearance. The only pattern that a piece of plain knitting has in it is interlocking ‘v’ shapes on the front and crescent shapes on the back.

Plain knitting is also called Stockinette stitch. The earliest known artefacts that were made from Stockinette stitch are some socks that were found in Egypt and date back to around the 11th Century. They are thought to have been knitted using sticks, instead of knitting needles, but the construction is very similar to that of modern day Stockinette stitch.

Plain knitting can be done either by hand or using a knitting machine. Until the invention of the knitting machine, all knitting was done by hand. It was thought to be a very lucrative skill, rather than just a hobby. Knitting was increasingly important in the Scottish Isles around the 17th and 18th Century, it was around this time that both Fair Isle and Aran techniques were invented, which is a combination of plain knitting and patterns.

Plain knitting is still a very popular technique with many knitted fabrics that we wear today being made from plain knitting or a combination of plain and purl stitch. Jersey fabric is made entirely from stockinette stitch, as is double knitting.

Properties of Plain Knitting

  • Elastic
  • Comfortable
  • Fits well
  • Definite right and wrong side
  • Warm to wear
  • Lightweight
  • Different patterns can be created using just plain knit
  • Many different colours available
  • Different weights can be achieved depending on the yarn
  • Does not fray

End Uses of Plain Knitting

  • Knitwear
  • Hosiery
  • Underwear
  • T-Shirts
  • Pyjamas
  • Sportswear
  • Baby clothes

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Written by Kelly Mitchell

Kelly Mitchell, extremely competent and reliable, she is currently in her third year at the University of Lincoln UK, studying Fashion. Kelly is responsible for the Fabrics, Fibers and Leathers sections of our Dictionary

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